The Montessori classroom is designed around encouraging and developing the language skills of a child. This not only includes reading and writing, but also talking and expressing oneself.
Children are introduced to sandpaper letters early on where they trace their alphabet with their fingers (Maria Montessori believed “Touching the letters and looking at them at the same time fixes their images more quickly because of the cooperation of the senses.”.) The Montessori method advocates lower case, phonetics based learning as this directly promotes reading and writing. Once children are able to sound out the phonetical alphabet, we move onto the pink cards (pictured above) where children blend and form three letter words. Children also complete a small book where they write out the words they have read, developing their writing skills. Reading and writing skills are also developed through the moveable alphabet (pictured above) where children can form words themselves and practice writing them out.
Language is also encouraged by the free expression of the children with other children. We have circle time every day where children can bring something to show and tell to the class. This builds confidence and public speaking skills which is an important skill to develop all the way through adult hood. We have reading time where we sit and read a book and singing time where the children join in songs. Often we find this to be the first time children whose second language is english, really come out of their shell and express themselves through song. Children sit together at meal times and chat amongst themselves while eating which is important for social development as well as language skills. There is also a reading corner where children can take some time to themselves and look through some books – this also turns into a little social area and often we see older children explaining books to the younger ones – a real delight.
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We have already discussed sensorial and mathematics activities that are part of the Montessori method. In the coming weeks, we are going to talk about practical life and language. Stick around and check the blog for updates to read about these activities at the Waverley Montessori Preschool.
Sensorial activities are fundamental to the Montessori method as Maria Montessori believed everything came through the senses. At the Waverley Montessori Preschool develop children’s sensorial skills by introducing them to activities from early on that will help them be logical, aware and perceptive. These activities encourage children to identify patterns, discrimination and order.
The pink tower (often the children’s favourite activity) develop children’s discrimination of sizes. The cubes decrease in size by one centimetre and children build a tower from largest to smallest. The knobless cylinders (green cylinders above) take this on step further and refine their discrimination skills. This activity also targets fine motor skills and concentration. The rod rods also refines children’s discrimination skills as children order the rods from longest to shortest (length). The colour box encourages children to identify colours and grade colours from darkest to lightest.
Mathematics is introduced to each child at the Waverley Montessori Preschool from early on. It is important that children understand the concept of the numbers to ten – this is the foundation of mathematics in Montessori. We have a range of Montessori equipment and the children understand that each number represents a certain quantity. The equipment helps children visualise the concepts concretely rather than working with abstract ideas.
The rods and numeral cards activity assist children in associating quantities with the number symbol. The cards and counters activity above (green dots) also introduce the children to the concept of odd and even numbers – the odd numbers being the ones that have a dot without a partner. The spindle boxes introduce children to the concept of zero and loose units making up a number quantity.
Once the children master their counting and understanding of the numbers to ten, they are introduced to more complex concepts such as the decimal system and the teens and tens.